COVID-19 leads to art gallery industry ‘retrofit’
DECADES from now, art enthusiasts wondering about what Central Queensland artists were creating during the coronavirus pandemic will only need to look back online to see.
CQ artists are engaging with the Rockhampton Art Gallery via the art gallery's Facebook page in a unique way which has been trending world wide - recreating an artwork from the gallery's collection.
Director of Rockhampton Art Gallery Bianca Acimovic said the coronavirus pandemic had seen a massive shift in the art gallery industry worldwide where galleries were interacting with art enthusiasts and artists in the digital world.
"We've never really invested in it," she said.
"We need to think about digital reach and online engagement."
Ms Acimovic said Rockhampton Art Gallery had started prior to COVID-19 to develop a podcast as part of a program to get the older generations to share their knowledge about the history of art and other art related subjects, and have that information on a platform popular with the younger generation.
The first podcast for the art gallery's podcast channel "Behind the Art", accessible on most podcast apps, features Henri Van Noordenburg talking about Queensland's Centre of Photography Collection which started in 2004 and covers a 10-year period while the centre had a home in Brisbane.
Ms Acimovic said because COVID-19 changed everything, Rockhampton Art Gallery had "retrofitted" the podcast.
One of the latest podcasts on the channel features Rockhampton artist Peta Lloyd talking about assemblage art.
Ms Acimovic said Rockhampton Art Gallery would be releasing a new podcast episode every fortnight.
She said COVID-19 saw all face-to-face interactions with artists and workshops cancelled so the gallery had worked with sponsor The Capricornian to produce Messy Mondays online tutorials for parents once a month, which would be free.
Rockhampton Art Gallery has also jumped on-board with a global campaign where galleries, including QUT Art Museum are posting photographs of an art piece from their collections and asking their followers to recreate that piece and share an image of their recreation.
One of Rockhampton Art Gallery's was: "Share the love | Show us your version of this gorgeous artwork by Adelaide Perry. It can be a mimicry, a drawing, a play-doh replica: pick your creative medium and let loose!"
Peta Lloyd, Matt Davis, Nora Hanasy and Veronika Ziel were among the handful of CQ artists who took up this challenge.
Rockhampton Art Gallery has also being doing "shout outs" about individual CQ artists on Instagram (@rockhamptonartgallery).
Other art galleries and museums have their own digital programs running, including virtual tours and posts about individual artworks in their collections.
Ms Acimovic said prior to COVID-19, the art gallery and museum industry had not progressed forward online.
"This might shift all that we do as an industry," she said.
Ms Acimovic said Rockhampton Art Gallery had worked with CQUniversity last year on a 3D scanning project for Facebook.
She said while the assumption was that life was slowing down for industries like the arts, it was actually a different story.
"Life is very busy still," Ms Acimovic said.
"For us, it's about leading the community through this pandemic, keeping up the connections. In the coming decades, these online galleries will answer the question "what people were creating during COVID-19."
She hinted there was more in the works by saying "watch this space for more".